Sri Lanka’s exports decreases marginally, Imports down: Central Bank

June 02, 2015 (LBO) –Sri Lanka’s exports earnings declined marginally by 0.9 per cent, year-on-year, to 1,060 million US dollars in March 2015, led by tea followed by precious metals and textiles and garments exports, the Central bank said.

Sri Lanka reported 1,070 million US dollars of exports in March 2014, the highest monthly earnings in 2014.

Earnings from industrial exports increased by 8.0 per cent to 841.4 million US dollars while earnings from petroleum products down by 35.4 per cent to 21.6 million US dollars, data showed.

Textile and Garments also were down by 6.2 percent to 428.2 million US dollars, which reflected declines mainly due to significantly higher level of exports recorded in the corresponding month of 2014, the regulator said.

Transport equipment earnings increased by 355.4 per cent to 152.8 million US dollars, while export of rubber products declined by 6.0 per cent to 76.1 million US dollars with a significant decline in rubber tyre exports despite the increase in exports of surgical and other gloves.

Earnings from agricultural exports declined by 16.6 per cent to 214.1 million US dollars.

Earnings from tea exports, which declined from August 2014, year on year, continued to decline by 27 per cent to 113.4 in March 2015 as well, reflecting continuous decline in demand from major tea importers especially Russia and the Middle East, which were severely affected by the significant decline in international oil prices.

Meanwhile, export earnings from sea food declined by 36.5 per cent to 15.7 million US dollars during the month mainly caused by 77.6 per cent decline in sea food exports to the EU market, the main sea food market of Sri Lanka, Central Bank says.

Sri Lankan sea food exports to the EU market were restricted effective from mid-January 2015 by the European Union.

Export earnings from spices increased by 63.3 per cent due to the higher export volumes, especially pepper and cloves.

Imports Numbers

Expenditure on imports declined by 5.5 per cent, year-on-year, to US dollars 1,581 million in March 2015, Central Bank’s data showed.

This was the first decline since July 2014 and largely attributable to the 66 per cent decline in expenditure on fuel imports.

“Non-importation of crude oil during the month of March and record low level of refined petroleum product prices in the international market caused for this substantial decline in the expenditure on fuel imports,” Central Bank said.

Imports of consumer goods increased by 45.7 percent to 441.6 million US dollars.

Non-food consumer goods also rose 73 percent with vehicle imports shows an increase of 122 percent to 132.3 million US dollars.

“Higher imports of personal motor cars in both value and volume terms, and import of a light vessel contributed mainly for the increase in consumer goods and investment goods, respectively.” Central Bank said.

Other non-food consumables rose 49 percent to 154 million US dollars.

Sri Lanka’s intermediate goods imports were declined by 29.1 percent to 741 million US dollars.

Sri Lanka’s spending on fuel declined by 66 percent in the month of March 2015, to 155.5 million US dollars. Sri Lanka has spent 457.6 million US dollars for fuel in the same month year ago, data showed.

Import expenditure on fertilizer declined by 48.8 per cent to 24.8 million US dollars while Wheat and Maize were up by 33.2 percent to 52.5 million US dollars.

Unmanufactured tobacco imports were up by 157 percent to 12.5 million dollars.

Investment goods imports were up 23 percent to 397.5 million US dollars, contributed by 225 percent of increase of transport equipment to 136.3 million US dollars while Building material imports were down 12.6 percent to 88.7 million US dollars and machinery and equipment were down by 3.9 percent to 172.3 million US dollars.